'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. Please use the TattvabodhaH label to access all posts relevant to this text.
Let us begin today with a small story.
The Abbot of a monastery was despairing of the monks all tending to argue and create problems among themselves. None of them seemed to agree on anything. There was an advanced soul living up on the hill, some would call him 'saint', and the Abbot consulted him, more to gain some clarity for himself than in truly expecting a solution. The saint advised the Abbot that, actually, the Lord was present in his cloisters and he ought to let everyone know that. The Abbot was astounded. The Lord? In his very own monastery? Naturally, he was keen to tell his brethren. Like a some kind of magic, everyone was so preoccupied with the idea that one or other of them may actually be God, that they forgot their previous contentions and were very courteous to one another, industrious in their tasks, and contemplative at all other times. The Abbot was very pleased for this, of course, but was not immune to wishing he knew which among them was the Lord Manifest. He took another trip to the saint and asked this of him. … "All are God disguised," was the only answer he received.
What is to be taken from this story? Firstly, that the Abbot, essentially an advanced person in terms of religious standing, still required to learn the Truth of Spirit. All his scholarly ambition and had not aided his clarity on the true purpose of the scriptures. He still thought of God and his brethren as being separate from himself. Secondly, that in recognising the Divinity in all things and people, our life is much calmer. Thirdly, when we are ready, the Satguru will be available to us; carrying out their instruction will benefit us. This leads us to the question we were left with last week. (Note, the chanting practice has last week's, today's and also next week's suutras.)
ननु नीवन्मुक्तः कः
यथा देहोऽहं पुरुषोऽहं ब्राह्मणोऽहं शूदोऽहम्स्मीति
दृढनिस्चयस्तथा नाहं ब्राह्मणः न सूद्रः न पुरुषः
किन्तु असंगः सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः प्रकाशरूपः
सर्वान्तर्यामी चिदाकाशरूपोऽस्मीति दृढनिस्चयरूपोऽ-
yathaa deho.ahaM puruSo.ahaM braahmaNo.ahaM shuudo.ahamsmiiti dR^iDhaniscayastathaa naahaM braahmaNaH na suudraH na puruSaH kintu asaMgaH saccidaanandasvaruupaH prakaasharuupaH sarvaantaryaamii cidaakaasharuupo.asmiiti dR^iDhaniscayaruupo.aparoxaGYaanavaan jiivanmuktaH.
"Then, who is jiivanmukta ?"
"Just as one has firm belief 'I am the body… I am a man… I am a Braahmin… I am a shudra', in the same way one ho, by his immediate Knowledge, has firmly ascertained 'I am not a braaahmin… I am not a shudra… I am not a man', but 'I am unattached of and of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, effulgent, indweller of all and the formless Awareness'; is a jiivanmuktaH."
We are currently limited in our perception by the conditionings of our bodies and the world around. "I am this or that", "You are such and such"… the Realised Master has no such limitations. Similarly, all our activities are limited by the limitations we work under. The jivanmukta sees no obstacles. For such a saint, the Knowledge is permanent. There is no further seeking. We may observe that some cease from saadhana; yet others may increase their spiritual practice. Importantly, though, the jivanmukta does not present with physical changes. There are no actual haloes in the world! Therefore, we cannot say with any certainty that this or that person may be a saint.
Indeed, there are many saints who have lived and passed and never been known. In our current age, we are not particularly open to the idea of living next to a saint. In our brilliant 'rationalism' we seek to find their weak points, their negatives… their feet of clay. Every saint has a past, every one of us has the capacity to become a saint. Judging that some one was once a soldier and killed people, or a tax collector and thus little more than a thief, and therefore cannot possibly be a saint, is to deny the possibility for one's own transformation.
Rather, we ought to relish the example they set us. Renouncing all negativities, looking to the Lord, and seeing His Blessings everywhere.
Having this knowledge as a 'brain fact' is not good to us. Vicariously reading, listening, watching can avails us of very little in practical terms. Theory must become practice. Practice brings experience. Here, experience being advised is to know that "I" is everywhere. There is no "you". This is The Knowledge of Vedanta.