'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
[You are reminded that reviewing the previous week's posts will become essential as the meanings of the Sanskrit terms may not be repeated. There may come additional or alternative meanings, but all should be noted. As study progresses, the technical terms must necessarily become 'second nature' to the student. When the Sanskrit is used, the translation will fall easily into place - or likewise, if the English is used, the Sanskrit term must easily come forwards.]
Please revisit THIS post and chant the mangala-charana. The chanting for the oncoming posts was given last week - use the TattvabodaH label to access all posts relevant to this text.
We pick up the exploration of the six inner wealths with …
दमः कः चक्षुरदिबाह्येन्द्रियनिग्रहः/damaH kaH? ChakshuraadibaahyendriyanigrahaH… what is dama? It is the control of the external sense organs such as the eyes and so on. It was said that shama was control of the inner equipments, the mind/intellect, manonigrahaH. How we respond to anything, happens within that operational object. Not the brain, note; the brain is inert matter just as the rest of the body is. Without that platform, however, mind could not operate. Soft ware is nothing with the hardware! Being 'software', mind is indeed an 'object'.
Likewise, the operating system can only work based upon the input it is fed. Feeding our mind are the organs of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch (jnaanendriyas) and tongue, hand, feet, excretory organs and reproductive organs (karmendriyas). These provide the stimulus for the mind/intellect. It is control of these organs which is the realm of dama. Dama is our fallback position if our efforts of shama falter. Mental control is the most desirable, because by default, mind controlled automatically means all body is controlled. However, as we have been finding, the mind is rather flibbertigibbet. Thus we need another position to take up which will preserve us from the fierceness and distraction of the world.
To help the mind regain its composure, we must therefore take physical control by monitoring the type of input which arrives. At this point one is reminded of the three wise monkeys. Their message of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" is absolutely relevant here.
If we sit and watch a dirty or violent movie, why would we be surprised that the mind gets highly agitated?! If we hear all the time abusive and offensive language, how much more difficult is it for us to avoid falling into the pit of its usage?! We have all experienced it, is it not? Even innocuous things such as trend words… like… It could be called as 'anti japa'; repetition and constant exposure mean that eventually something seeps in no matter how much we detest it.
The senses are not easy to tame. It can be like breaking in a wild horse at times. Eyes love colour and movement. Ears enjoy sweet (or not so) sounds. Nose and tongue are keen to sample the perfume or foods on offer, and our hands are always looking for mischief!
The taming of these urges is dama. To be able to draw back from that second helping of taste; to say no to addictive substances; to make more uplifting choices in music and viewing… these are the steps required. Functional. Practical. Essential. Neither can this be done by force or fear. Coax the senses with promise of something much better awaiting them. Supplant the baser desires at first with more moderate ones. Then raise the bar again...and again… The more one can kick into shama level of control the more rewarding the journey becomes.
उपरमः कः स्वधर्मानुष्ठानमेव/uparamaH kaH? Svadharmaanushthaanameva - what is uparama/uparati? It is the strict observance of one's own dharma (duty). The verbal root is 'rum' - to revel. Upara means to cease to revel. The endings are according to gender only, -maH (m)/-ti (f). Now we see the natural progression. With mental and physical control, we have a natural withdrawal from revelling in things of the physical. The effort we put into shama and dama leads us to the effortless state of uparama/ti. In our uparama state, all stimulus means nothing. Nothing can disturb us as we are suitably withdrawn into our spiritual self. In this state, we very easily carry out our daily activities according to our life path; our family, our employment and so on. These are the things of dharma.
In our material-based existence we often rail against the duties which arrive at our feet. We make chores even of the things we chose to take up. Creating drama for ourselves, feeling burdened, trapped in swings of likes and dislikes. If we gain uparama, one's duties and tasks are performed with enthusiasm, dedication, joy, concentration - and with none of the swings of emotion previously experienced.
For some folk, the anchor for saadhana is to stick very closely to their dharma - allowing the actions as given by shastra, rightful and needful actions and nothing extraneous - in order to gain dama and then shama.
See how the little gems of the shamaadhi-shatka sampatti are interdependent and cooperative in our spiritual benefit?
A final word on this. Uparama also has the connotation of sanyaas - complete surrender to one's true nature (स्वधर्म /svadharma) in which there is ultimate withdrawal from all external performance.
More next week. For saadhana this week, give full mananam on what has been learned thus far from Tattvabodha. Continue to self-observe in terms of how 'present' you are - and how often not...