ADVENTURES IN ADVAITA VEDANTA...


Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..

THE ADVENTURE

HARI OM!
Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

The Seven Baths

Hari OM
'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

We now explore the Sri Adi Shankara text, "SadaachaaraH". To obtain your own copy, click here.

Dharma shaastra relates that there are seven forms of sauchanam.

MANTRAM; this is an act of purification by chanting. Most of our daily mantras are recited in the morning and can thus be considered as 'bathing in chant'. Traditionally there are prayers which pertain to different parts of the body and these are touched during the recitation. This is still practiced in many parts of India.

BHAUMAM (or 'paarthivam'); mud bath. The application of mud to the whole body, permitted to dry and then flake away. Interestingly, this is now used in beauty parlours and natural health clinics around the world at quite some cost!

AAGNEYAM; this is the application of ash from the homa - sacred fires. Thus, 'fire bath'. This whole-body smearing is still commonly practiced by many sadhus in India. For householders who are participating fully in regular life, though, the application of the ash is generally reserved to a line or lines upon the brow. Whilst this is an homage to aagneyam, it could not be considered as bathing as such.

VAYAVYAM; the cow is a sacred creature in the Hindu culture. Wherever it walks, touching the earth makes the dust it raises equally sacred. Using this dust as an 'air bath' is therefore considered auspicious and cleansing. 

DIVYAM; sunbathing! More specifically, 'divine bath'. Scientifically, we now know there are many benefits to imbibing a certain amount of sunlight. It triggers a process within us for the manufacture of Vit D. It's pressure upon the pineal gland boosts our mood. Just being in the fresh air is rejuvenating. In the same way that we must remember to protect ourselves from over-exposure, though, the ancient Indians also applied oils and ointments.

VARUNAM; 'water bath'. This is the one with which we are most familiar. In days gone by it was always a river, waterfall, lake or such. Now we have tubs and showers. It is said there are ten benefits; good looks, glow, strength, purity, long-life, health, non-covetousness, good sleep, fame and memory. Some of these may be a bit of a stretch, but it perhaps refers to the associated prayers and movements which are ascribed for our use. Samkalpa (intent) for purification; suukta-pathanam (Vedic hymns chanting); maarjanam (ensuring the water reaches all parts of the body, by sprinkling or emersion); aghamarshanam (specific prayers for removal of sin); and devataa tarpanam (offering the water to the deities). By incorporating these with our varunam, we could indeed receive all ten benefits.

MAANASAM; the 'mental bath', executed by meditation on The Self. This is the 'bathing like a fish' which is referred to in shloka seven. When we physically bathe, we are not still. We have to move the water around us so that it carries away the impurities upon our skin. Similarly, contemplation upon the Higher exercises the intellect as it works out its doubts and seeks better knowledge and then, on reaching the breakthrough point to the well of knowledge itself, we enter full meditation. The body may appear very still to any who pass by, but internally, the jiiva is sporting in the Bliss of Self.


Remember, Revel

Hari OM
Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

The Mukundamala of King Kulashekhara is the focus, currently, as we seek to raise our devotion.

When we make an appeal to the Higher with full devotion, revelling, then we can be fortunate that It reveals Its Truth to us.

Sarisjnyne sz'!oc³e muri_aid ma ivrmSv icĂ„ rNtum!,
suokrmpr< n jatu jane hircr[Smr[am&ten tuLym!.10.
Sarasija-nayane sashankha-chakre mura-bhidi maa viramasva chitta rantum,
Sukhakaram-aparam na jaatu jaane hari-charana-smaranaamRtena tulyam ||10||
Oh, my mind, do not forget to revel in Him, the destroyer of the demon Mura, one whose eyes are like lotus and who wields conch and disc.
I do not know any other thing that gives joy equal to the nectar-like remembrance of the Lord's feet.

It is said that true education begins when one leaves the school. All the book knowledge in the world cannot fully prepare us for the physical impact it has upon us. In a similar way, it can be said that regular worship of the beloved Higher is like the school, but only once we have learned the routines, and then can let them go to simply 'be' devoted, are we likely to find that we are revelling. Remembrance first, then experience!

To revel in the Lord is to find that we are drawn to ever higher spaces within ourselves, to the point where we have not effort required to be in the presence of the Higher. It 'reveals' itself to us.

Sadly, though, we tend to revel only in that which can be physically perceived; in the world of illusion. Maya has such a hold upon us. A question often asked of Hindus is why they worship so many gods. The response is really quite simple. In the same way that anyone will have images of their family members on their shelves, desks, walls, it is so that they can gaze upon them as if in the flesh. The mind's eye is useful but the image is more so for remembrance - is it not so? It is not, therefore, that many gods are worshipped, but the many faces of the One God. The human mind is weak. It needs this constant reminder. Each will chose the face of the Lord which appeals to them most, that is all.

After some time, if away from the place where that image stays, the mind can in fact picture it and can play with the picture, mentally - it should never be forgotten. The more we are attached to the Higher this way, the lesser are our attachments to the material things of life.


BMI... Nutshell

Hari Om
Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality.

The BMI chart. It was established by the Rsis that the development of the individualised spirit as a personality comes about from a triumvirate of things; the experience, the experiencer, and the relationship between them, the experiencing.

Thus we have the instruments of experiencing, which are the body, the mind and the intellect; we have the things to experience, which are the objects, the emotions and the thoughts, and we are those who experience through perception, feeling and thinking. The subject in thinking mode identifies with the intellect and experiences through the medium of thought. Likewise, that subject who identifies with the mind, will experience emotions and thus express through feelings. Then the subject who identifies with the body finds experiential interaction by how it percieves the objects and beings of the world. We all of us have all three connections from the external to the internal.

What is unseen is that which connects us all - the Consciousness, as represented by the OM. What clouds our seeing this common bond, this shared root, is the veil of ignorance created by our Vasana layer.

SAADHANA;
We shall break this down further, but for the next week spend five to ten minutes each day continuing to look at the chart and memorising the parts and the flow between them. Take note during each day which part of yourself is manifesting in each moment. This is a tool of self-observation. Look back over your day and note in your books places where it was clear that you were identifying mostly with your body, or with the mind, or with the intellect. Note, also, if you think that there might have been a choice to be had about which part you used.