'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.
There is a promise - a lure - given now.
tITvaR maeha[Rv< hTva ragÖe;aidra]san!,
yaegI zaiNtsmayu´ AaTma ramae ivrajte.50.
Tiirtvaa mohaarnavam hatvaa raaga-dvesha-adi-raakshasaan,
Yogii shaanti-samaayukta aatmaa raamo viraajate ||50||
After crossing the ocean of delusion and killing the monsters of likes and dislikes, the yogi who is united with peace becomes Aatmaaraama; he comes to revel in Himself.
Without the understanding gained from earlier reading, this might come across as somewhat narcissistic. However, we ought to at least grasp, by now, that it is not the case. When the transformation from extended saadhana and tapas is complete, the individualised, egocentric jiiva-self is eradicated and the Self is found to be himself only. Narcissism can only occur where there is ego and in this state of bliss it does not. The mental impressions gained from the ego-existence and from every incarnation which all together form 'samsaara' - the ocean of delusion - have been exploded. Through the process of meditation the seeker reaches the effulgent experience of the Self, where he has no doubt, and where all his misapprehensions about his jiiva-self are melted away. This is possible only when the 'devilish' forces of likes and dislikes are destroyed and completely eradicated from the seeker's bosom.
Think how often we refer to the external in terms of whether or not we like it/them/those… indeed, we live in a world which now openly promotes this form of preferential behaviour. There are those who hang on with desperation for the 'like' to click over in their life - validation by ether. Think about this! All that 'hearting' rarely holds any genuine or lasting value and, indeed, can often be entirely false. It builds up egos only for them to come crashing down when the 'heart' is withdrawn, which is so easily done and with no thought for the effect - or worse still, because, it will have effect. So much of our self-esteem has become dependent on liking and being liked. We also become so choosey, disliking this or that. This means we often rebut opportunities and experiences, no matter how small, simply based on gut reaction or a non-sweet taste and as a result we miss much.
Likes and dislikes are insidious 'demons' (rakshasaas) to be destroyed in order for us to sail successfully across samsaara. Accept all equally, know that what is liked one day may not be liked another, understand the waste created by them.
In doing this, one can more readily transcend into a state of bliss. We can come to meet our own True Self, which is one and one only, hence it is 'ourself', and we can revel there. Aatmaaraama is a crucial and poetic word; it is suggestive of the story of Sri Rama in the Ramaayana, which is an itihaasa (history) rather than an Upanishadic text. In making this inference, Shankraachaarya-ji may be demonstrating that this is not all about theory and separate from what man has to face daily. Sri Rama was manifest as a full human being (in the same manner, Yeshu), and lived the example he wished people to follow. What is more, this is also suggesting that the Ramaayana is actually scriptural, Upanishadic in its nature, and we must not read it lightly.
The very name Rama means 'the one reveller who revels in all hearts'; this, like we find in so many writings, points to the singularity of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. This shloka, in essence, gives a full summary of the Ramaayana; Sri Rama, in harmonious union with HimSelf, as depicted by the beauteous Sita-ji, knows only peace and joy for a time. However, there comes the external challenges of being banished to the forest, then the kidnapping of Sita by the ten-headed king of Lanka, Raavana. The 'ten-heads' are with us still - in the five senses and the five organs of action - all of which provide us with the challenge of liking and disliking! Sri Rama has to cross the ocean to Lanka in order to put an end to that monster; then, and only then, can he return to Ayodhya with his 'balance', his wife Sita restored.
Such a large amount out of so few words! This is Sanskrit at its finest.