Govindam Bhaja Mooda Mathe

If you have a sibling, what I am about to say would be in your experience.

when I was a kid, my dad bought me a toy and I can’t remember what I liked about it but I always carried it. Whoever visited our house, I showed them the toy and said it was mine.

Then my brother came and he watched me carrying the toy everywhere. Now he wanted it. My dad had to buy another toy so I could start sharing the old one with my brother. Slowly I outgrew the old one. It didn’t amuse me anymore. My brother played with it and it became his toy. After a while, he also left the old one for new.

Now the old toy had no takers. Whose is it anyway? Before my dad bought it, it was the storekeepers and then mine and then my brother’s and now nobody’s. Down the lane, someone would pick that old toy and start calling it theirs.

So, is our thoughts. They are an accumulation of stuff we read, heard, liked or observed. They were never ours in the first place. There is no such thing as an original thought; it is always borrowed. A little tweaking wouldn’t make it authentic. Like the old ’80s, fashion trends are back in fashion now.

A thought is like that old toy. The kids called it theirs till they outgrew it but here we are not even calling it ours but we are calling it ourselves.

We sometimes call the body as our self and at times our mind becomes our self. Are we suffering from multiple personality disorder?

So, when the Seers look at us. They are unsure how else to explain this very phenomenon. They have written multiple scriptures, all boiling down to this very idea. Out of compassion and unable to digest the way we identify with things; they call us mooda mathe.

Therefore praise the lord..Sing his glory, talk about him, think about him until the difference between you and him blurs out.

Which is that lord, Govindam do we sing of?
Stop assuming ;). Let’s hear it from him.

Meditate on that formless Brahmanimmortal, imperishable, eternal and of unending divine bliss.

Bhagavad Gita

Brahmaṇo hi pratiṣhṭhāham amṛitasyāvyayasya cha
Shāśhvatasya cha dharmasya sukhasyaikāntikasya cha//14.27

I am the basis of the formless Brahman, the immortal and imperishable, of eternal dharma, and of unending divine bliss

 

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Which Guna Are You Leaning Toward?

Gita doesn’t ask you to renounce the world. Neither does it ask you to live a satvik life in the Himalayas. So, what does it ask of you?

Look, how brilliantly Ved Vyas Maharshi has set the stage for Bhagavad Gita. It was not said by a sage dressed in saffron nor was it said in a quiet ashram. But by a teacher who is married with kith and kin, the stage is nothing peaceful-it is a battlefield and the advice given was to wage the war.

What was the Maharshi thinking? The essence of the Upanishads could easily be retold in a more pacific setting but he chose otherwise. He did it again when he told the story of an Enlightened butcher who imparted knowledge to a Sage in Mahabharata.

What is he trying to convey? He is trying to teach us something very subtle. That it doesn’t matter what you do here but what matters is your Intention & Thought behind that action. How should you act and what should be your thought?

So, in Chapter 14- he explains the gunas in detail

  • Their source
  • How they bind you to the perishables
  • What causes them
  • How they come in cycles
  • How to identify which is predominant at the moment
  • What would happen to you if you favour one over the other
  • What would be the fruits of action performed in these modes
  • How should you be when the gunas are in action
  • Characteristics of those who have transcended the three gunas(14:22-25)

At last, Gita recommends you to transcend all three. How do you do that? Now when these are in action, you witness them and do not own their actions nor their consequences.

Who transcends these gunas? Who believes and thinks
Naiva Kincit Karomiti-“I am doing nothing at all”

Now….You may ask:”what am I to do with these” “Do I keep telling myself I am doing nothing at all”

Just by repeating, no change would come by. If you believe you are what you think then only pay attention to those thoughts that don’t paralyse you. Those would be satvik in nature and slowly such thoughts would multiply.

If you keep practising the above. You will know this-

  • That you have the power over your thoughts(whatever they may be in nature(sattva, rajas, tamas))
  • You can choose over them
  • You are giving power to the thoughts of your choice
  • When you do not pay attention, they die down.

So you can safely come to this conclusion that the gunas/modes are not YOU. Also, You should be someone above them in authority.

With this knowledge, stop owning them. You are not the action nor the result. The gunas are doing their job and they are in your field of awareness.

So, whatever needs to be done, the body & mind combined would do it. We aren’t helping anyone here so we needn’t boast about it or vice versa.

Finally, give credit where its due.Don’t take it on you 🙂

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Dare to question. Don’t Just Confirm

We may ask,

  • OMG! How can I dare to think I am God or a part of Him?
  • Why meditate on ‘That’ when I am already ‘That’?
  • Isn’t ‘freedom’ also a desire?
  • The ‘Atman’ is like an operating system/Electricity/Space/Water- boring by itself. Am I boring?

These questions appear in anybody who is really interested. There is nothing wrong in probing and no God would be disappointed if questioned. Krishna himself answered numerous questions and he might not be here in person but we are a part of that Infinite reality. So, don’t be hesitant.

Our scriptures do not ask for conformity but they want us to challenge it. They are not asking us to follow a God, per se but they are reminding us that we are God ourselves(Aham Brahmasmi-I am the Infinite Reality).

God in this culture is not greedy or infatuated. He is not a punisher or a slayer or a dictator but Ishvara is the provider, friend, witness, teacher, guardian, wisdom and the supreme goal.(9.18).  We are born into this and it doesn’t deem right to flock like herds in fear of some God.

Ishvara in Gita 13.29 is explained as the Supreme soul – equally present everywhere in all living beings. Samaṁ Paśhyan hi Sarvatra Samavasthitam Iśhvaram.

We are a part of him(15.17). It is not just about scriptures telling this; don’t we get that feeling that we’re being served our past lifetimes on a platter? Do we quietly eat up and continue making more such impressions? Or do we dig past those impressions to find our self?

Everything here is pointing us to our limitless nature. From where does this insatiable desire for things come from? It is unquenchable- how much ever we get we still need more & more. We are always seeking something limitless-be that be the material desires or for immortality or liberation. What does this longing for Infinite limitless experience mean?

Does any of the dualities have boundaries? Love, hatred; happiness, sorrow; loss, gain

Think…

To be continued………………

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Why Do We Fear Meditation?

We fear meditation because we do not know what to expect.

When you sit down for meditation, do not expect the world to disappear immediately. With practice, you can do that but until then you need to be patient.

The Mind is like Indra, King of Indriyas. With willpower, we can close our eyes but it takes more to resist his baits. It is that subtle entity which takes practice to understand and comprehend.

If you have read Amarchitra Katha, you might have read about Indra, King of Gods doing all unholy things and feeling sorry afterwards. While reading about him, these thoughts would have crossed your mind-

  • How can the King of Gods fall prey to pleasures?
  • He is often described as the one who is restless and in continuous fear of losing his throne to anybody. He sees a sage also as a threat.
  • Either he is too humble or too arrogant; he seldom hit the middle ground.
  • And he doesn’t take the counsel of the Trinity before he acts but runs to them after committing the act.
  • Else he runs away and hides. He doesn’t want to face anybody and is overcome by guilt.

All these characteristics are similar to the Mind.

When I initially started meditating, it wasn’t easy. With the senses under your control, you can now see your thoughts very clearly. Very few would admit what all they see. It is embarrassing sometimes but that is why people are so unwilling to close their eyes. Many today advocate you to meditate with open eyes.

So anyway, getting back to what I was saying. The thoughts are like Indra, agitated. It doesn’t want you to observe it so keenly. So it will do anything to make you give up. But that is okay, it happens to everybody.

When you sit down to meditate, one of the many things will surface and will force you to join them.

  • Thoughts which are important to you(family, work etc..)
  • Thoughts that you have planned for the future
  • Thoughts of some good moments you spend
  • Instances that never occurred but which you had dreamt about.
  • Mistakes you committed which were never forgiven(by you).
  • Vile thoughts which are against your belief system
  • Uncanny thoughts

By now, the mind is restless; you open your eyes and things will slowly come to normalcy. But if you insist on continuing then Indra will use his last weapon Vajrayudha. If you overcome it, you will gain some control over the mind.

  • Repressed fears will surface.

It is like a watching a live show if you go with it. It is unsettling and might make you nervous. Trust your scriptures when they say the mind isn’t you.

Great seers had to endure it in spite of living a disciplined life. Remember the story of Viswamitra- you do not give up. Understand that they can’t hurt you, they are just thoughts.

If you think the thoughts are you or yours then that very thought will stand as an obstacle in your practice.

Sometimes the mind doesn’t approve of a thought. It might want to rationalize it to make it more acceptable. One of the two things you could do:

  • Just keep watching the anxious mind and it will pass but might come back. Unfinished business, you see 😉
  • Let it rationalize, you approve it. Leave it at that. It will continue with that for some time but do not entertain it. If you go with it, it will build a castle on that thought.

You might think, what would that do to my memory? Sublimation and rationalization happen all the time, it is just that we do not pay attention to it.

For example: when we do not like someone, we don’t admit that we are jealous or they are better but instead we look for reasons to hate them. There might be hundreds of good things staring at us but we will stay blind to that.

And how much ever you decorate a corpse, it will still go under the Earth. Our memories are faulted and they are past and doesn’t hold life. So, it doesn’t matter. Just don’t go overboard and keep decorating it ;). Let it go.

By now, you will really know how the mind operates. And when you watch the thoughts, you will see variety and their transitionary nature.

With time, mind slows down and then you would clearly see what lies beneath.

When we churn the ocean, good and bad will emerge. How could we say that the Ocean is faulty? The mind is like an ocean and only churning will bring peace.

From my experience, I can promise you this- that whatever has surfaced during med would never come to haunt you again. You would have made peace with it. So, go ahead. Close your eyes and experience the Divine.

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About Atman(Cont..)

How am I to look beyond the name and form? I do not see anything.

You are right. The teacher would suggest you look within before you venture out. Therefore, for now, do not try to see ‘Atman’ in all.

  • First, we should know what to look for?
  • Second, it doesn’t have a form; it cannot be described(like space).
  • Most importantly, you and I are also part of ‘All’. So, the search should start within.

You might worry that ‘Atman’ may vary from being to being. For example, the aloe vera plant sitting in the balcony might have less of ‘Him’ compared to ‘Him’ in me. Or the Himalayas would have more of ‘Him’.

Arjuna pretty much had the same doubt. To which Krishna answered: “Ajuna, I, Atman is equally disposed to all living beings(BG 9.29). Everything rests in me, as beads strung on a thread.”-Bhagavad Gita 7.7

Since he doesn’t have a form. How do I experience him?

Let’s apply the basic meditation here-Observing the Thoughts.

  • Sit with your eyes closed in a quiet place. why? Because we give way too much importance to our sense perceptions. So, shut them out for some time. Bhagavad Gita 8.12
  • You see your thoughts coming & going? Do not go with them however interesting they may seem.
  • Where are the thoughts appearing and disappearing? Watch that space that is helping the thoughts come and go. Hmm, interesting. That doesn’t have a form, either.
  • Now, what is that which is observing that space? Your eyes are closed but there is something which is witnessing the flow & intensity of thoughts.
  • If you have ever dreamed, you know that something was watching that dream too.  That is when you say I dreamt. Your body lay there like a corpse while dreaming. So, who was watching that dream?
  • Even in your deep sleep state, there is that thing which is observing nothingness(cessation of activities) Who is That?

Now our scriptures say, that ‘Observer’ who is observing all the three states is ‘YOU’. Unless someone is walking in and out of you, ‘That’ should be YOU 😉

Now we may realize, what do we mean by “Man having a body and mind”?

So, the ‘Man’ is Atman. He is not different from us but He is us.

I suppose we also understand who we are addressing when we use ‘I am’. And the Vedantic phrase “Nitya Shuddha Atman”.

Why am I Nitya? Because I do not come and go. I am there as an observer in all the states at all times.

Why Shuddha? Because the thoughts/emotions/dream/waking doesn’t taint me. They exist in Me. Like what we do under the Sun, doesn’t malign the Sun. Gita in 13.33 reiterates the same with another example of space.

I observe the mind & body in the waking state and the mind building a dream. I also observe when all the activities cease.

I am there. I am That.

As my teacher would put – we are like the Musk deer which spends its entire life searching outward for its own scent. Completely unaware that the smell is from its own navel 🙂

Note: This is my understanding. I might never be able to understand another person, or for that matter, even my mind or body. Though we do not wish for situations/people in our lives to change yet they change and so do we. But you might notice that we are longing for permanence – our very nature.

We should not stay unhappy with what we get. We should find our happiness and trust me, that isn’t anywhere outside. Change is the only constant thing in this world and we are seeking the opposite. So…..

Bhagavad Gita:

Bahir antaśh cha bhūtānām Acharaṁ charam eva cha
Sūkṣhmatvāt tad avijñeyaṁ Dūra-sthaṁ chāntike cha tat// 13.16

Exists outside and inside all living beings, those that are moving and not moving. Subtle, and hence incomprehensible.  Always near yet at the unspeakable distance- such is imperishable He!

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About Atman…

When I was told by my teacher that I am neither the body nor the mind .. suddenly it felt strange, as if someone had stripped me of my Identity.

The more I pondered on it, the more desperate I became. The desperation was real. How would you feel, if you been told that you are not anything that you doubted you were? Doubted? This thought would have crossed any mind at least once- that how can I be both the body and the mind.
Now, I wanted to know who am I? How do I look? How did I end up fooling myself to be the body and the mind?
For a minute, I even doubted whether I really existed. That strange feeling of not knowing myself was disturbing. I thought if I didn’t know myself then how wrong was I interpreting everything that is around me.
When the inquiry deepens and when we start asking more questions about Self (mind you, not about the world nor about fixing worldly things) that is when the teacher would render his experience or for that matter the experiences of all those who had discovered their true self.
Teachings:
  • The first thing that you would be told is that Atman is self-luminous, Svayamprakasha.

I, Atman does not require any proof to be proven. I am right there but you do not see me because you are too distracted. For example, we do not see the space or akasha around us(it doesn’t have a form) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there(it is in our experience). Likewise, you do not see yourself nor you see your self in others but you experience yourself and that needs no proof.

  • Atman is the Only Reality, SAT/Existence

Also, Atman is not an effect of a cause and it does not appear all of a sudden from somewhere. IT is just there and everything exists because of That.

Vedanta gives examples of the mud in the pot; it was always there in the pot. Gold in the gold ornaments etc. The body cavity which contains internal organs isn’t different from the space outside the body. Space which is so invincible yet so strong and extremely important for existence perhaps is the closest proof that Atman can exist likewise.

Since the real identity hasn’t been strengthened yet, there is a possibility of the above information to be misconstrued. You might just confuse your old pseudo self to be that Atman. To break that notion, Bhagavad Gita comes forth with the below message.

  • The names and forms are in me; I am not in them.(Bhagavad Gita 7.12, 13.17)

alphabet-alphabet-art

The letters are on the paper. Can you say the paper is in the words?

The 29 States and 7 Union Territories are a part of India. Do we say each state is a different India?  You cannot say there are multiple Indias as there are multiple states. The essence of India is in each state because India is one entity; the states are part of India. There is no two, in reality, India is One. Similarly, the names and forms are in the Brahman, the beings with the names and forms are unmanifest before their birth, manifest in life and again unmanifest on death. Basically, nobody is going anywhere or rightly put, there is no two things to come and go.

Sumi, in a black or pink dress, would still be Sumi. The dress does not change Sumi. Likewise, there is one Brahman, who wears different attires and is addressed differently. Long story short, we should learn to look beyond that names and forms.

to be continued…….

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Concept Of Bondage & Liberation

If you are a seeker & a beginner, you would be first told that “You are not the body or the mind or the Intellect but you are pure Awareness/Consciousness. Also, that everything here is just a play of Consciousness and Only ‘IT’ prevails.” Even Krishna gave the highest truth to Arjuna before he started with his discourse(Chapter 2, Shlok 11-21). He had to get into the details because of Arjuna’s incapability in comprehending what was told. Many of us are like Arjuna and that is why Gita is still relevant today.

Though every teacher introduces you to yourself yet it gets messed up because it doesn’t go unfiltered. And each student is different and therefore each has a different way of introducing the idea into life. I was unaware of the number of filters that I build unconsciously and it restrained every information coming my way.

In spite of listening to numerous discourses, the whole idea didn’t sink in or rather didn’t flow like the way I wanted. It doesn’t happen overnight, it might for some but it takes time. I kept thinking where am I stuck but now I realize that the idea of duality enticed me equally then.

And that is something that does not agree with Advaitam. There is no place for duality, but nevertheless let the inward search continue. Slowly but steadily, it will take you through its lovely paradoxes into a beautiful culmination. It might look like it is contradicting itself but when understood it is pure science. It tells you everything is in me but I am not in them. I am everything but I am independent. Though ‘You are That’, you still have to earn that experience.

Within the awareness is where the whole life is staged and every bit of that drama is nothing but ‘That’. Since our attention is drawn to the characters, we fail to see the actor, one who is playing all the characters. Though we theoretically understand that we are ‘One’, for that idea to flow easily, it takes endless attention unto our ‘self’.

The drama is him, life force is him, characters and ideas are him, actors are him, the whole act is him, the audience is him, the stage is him and you are him.

So, where is the problem, you may ask? There is no problem if we received the knowledge and stayed like that. Since the idea of individuality and Oneness cannot coexist, we have to let go of one. But strangely our own small selfish creation stops us from experiencing the ultimate.

The wave is made to understand that it is nothing, but water in the form of a wave. And the foam, bubbles and the rest are all but water too. The only thing which is stopping the wave from being the water is the wave’s obsession with its form. That needs to stop then there is neither samsara nor mukti.

Brahmarpanam brahma havir brahmagnau brahmana hutam
Brahmaiva tena gantavyam brahma-karma-samadhina//
Ch 4, Shlk 24

The same one is the one who is playing it, watching it, directing it, producing it and staging it.

Yo mam pasyati sarvatra sarvam ca mayi pasyati
Tasyaham na pranasyami sa ca me na pranasyati// Ch 6, Shlk 30

Sarva-bhuta-sthitam yo mam bhajaty ekatvam asthitah
Sarvatha vartamano ‘pi sa yogi mayi vartate// Chp 6, Shlk 31

Image: Photographer Clark Little ventured out at sunrise to capture this stunning shot on North Shore in Oahu, Hawaii