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!

Arise!

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.

In reaching the third shloka of the text, we get the first 'instruction' provided.

àat> Smarim devSy svitu_aRgR AaTmn>,
Vare{y< tiÏyae yae niídanNde àcaedyat!.3.
praataH smaraami devasya savitrubharga aatmanaH,
Varenyam tadddhiyo yo nashchidaanande prachodayaat ||3||
I remember (contemplate) at dawn that effulgence of the Self (which is equal to) the effulgence of the Sun. May that most excellent One inspire our intellect towards Consciousness and Bliss.

Those familiar with the Maha Mantra Gayatri will recognise some words from there. A great deal of saadhana takes place in the morning. If we have healthy habits, we shall have taken to bed at a decent hour and will rise at a sufficiently early hour to incorporate at least the basic prayers and some meditation time.

Raatar utthaanam - getting up in the morning. There is a natural cycle to the days of 24 hours (assigned by Man - how the animals and plants assess that cycle will be entirely different and yet they still respond to it). We are meant to arise refreshed from our sleep of between six and eight hours. However, a great many of us do not get adequate sleep, for we keep awake too late and rely on unnatural means for arousal to ensure we are not late for work. The first instruction of the scriptures, as here, is that we ought to rise early, but we can only successfully do this without strain if we have also slept early. Even in English, we recognise the benefits of this habit… "early to bed, early rise, makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise." The Ayurveda Bhaasaara 63 tells us that "one who rises early becomes like a lotus, gains fame, intelligence, wealth, health and long life."

Further, the Manu SmRti advises rising in the Brahma muhuurta. The night is divided into four periods; 6-9 pm, 9-12 midnight, 12-3 am, and then 3-6 am. The latter is the Brahma muhuurta. It is when nature is at its best, the air freshest, the body sufficiently relaxed (provided it slept the previous two periods).

PraataH smaranam - early morning remembrance. In the morning, who we truly are is manifest. Our nature becomes apparent in those first few minutes after waking. The predominant thoughts which populate our minds will come forth then. Therefore, if we are seeking to improve ourselves, it would be good to ensure that we went to sleep with good thoughts (more on that later). Suffice to say, the aim is to wake and the first thoughts ought to be towards the Higher. As soon as the eyes open, remember That. Call upon It by the name of your choice - 'I remember Lord Shiva who bears the Ganges upon His head'… 'Salutations and prostrations Shri Rama'… alternatively, think of some of their devotees and how you desire to be like them… 'Oh Hanuman, show me how to serve'… Once the mind has been brought fully from sleep and into the awareness of the room, sit up in bed and take up the following prayer.

Kara darshanam - seeing Lord in our hands.
Sitting in padma pose on your bed, bring your hands in front of your chest, palms open as if like a book. Bring the thumbs to the fingertips and recite
Karagre vashate Lakshmi
Then bring the thumbs to the base of the fingers and recite
Karamadhye Sarasvati
Move the thumbs away and fold the fingers down into the palm and recite
Karamuule tu GovindaH
Finally, open the hands and bring them to your eyes and recite
Prabhaate kara darshanam.

The hands symbolise purushaartha, self-effort. By acknowledge the Higher Power in our hands, we are asking that they do good work throughout the day. At the tips of our fingers is the possibility of wealth (Lakshmi), in the centre of our hands lies the potential for learning (Saraswati), and at the base of our hands lies that which supports all which sits upon it, the substratum of life itself (Govinda). The last line says, 'may I gain from seeing these in my hands.'


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Hari OM
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