'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
We are now studying Aatmabodha. As always, with each week, you are encouraged to review the previous teachings and spend some time in contemplation of the meanings as the affect your life. Please do consider purchasing the text. Remember, also, to recite the mangala charana before each study and review the lessons before each new one.
Yesterday we read from the Narada Bhakti Sutra about the convergence of the personality of and advanced Bhakta into the very Lord to which s/he is devoted. Today in the jnaana-marg, we are told;
Sa sachchidaadi-dharmatvam bheje bhramarakiitavat ||49||
A liberated soul, endowed with Self-Knowledge, gives up the traits of his previously explained equipments and because of his Sat-Chit-Aananda nature, he verily becomes Brahman, as the worm transforming into the wasp.
Another affirmation of the Divinity within being Realised. In Western culture, the idea of being made in the image of God is accepted - but that step of understanding that we are God is never quite taken. Sanskritam permits this possibility - indeed the logic of Vedanta is such that this can be the only conclusion. The jiivanmukta who has taken saadhana to its most advanced stage and who comes to connect with infinity of existence, must still live out the physical life according to the praarabdha of that body. Having integrated the personality to its finest tuning, embracing and accepting that the BMI are not 'it', effectively 'dies' whilst living, gaining liberation even whilst remaining on the earth.
Such a spiritual giant, firmly established in this Knowledge, not longer bound by the usual needs and desires of the living, now continues to live through the body and in the world, but not of it; rather, they live the Divinity they have discovered.
The analogy of the wasp at the end of the shloka may seem strange. Often we think in terms of the butterfly leaving the cocoon, when talking about living life differently and more freely. However, the wasp of India builds a clay nest with but one small hole to exit and enter. In there, the worm (larvae) is laid. The parent wasp keeps guard, every now and then stinging the worm, which must keep looking up at the hole knowing the potential for pain which awaits each time it comes close to the opening. Only under this duress does the worm progress and grow wings itself, such that it can finally face the opening with full 'armour' and, looking out, take flight away from that which created it, becoming itself a full wasp. This story is told to help us understand that the process of the sadhaka is that not of ease, but the constant sting of needing to correct aasana, praana, nididdhyaasan… to endure perhaps years of disciplined meditation and not giving up hope of crossing the threshold of Realisation and becoming That Self which teases. Constantly the negation of matter and the affirmation of Self must be practiced in order to build 'spiritual wings'.
It is achievable, but it is not without angst!