[Taken from the Deivathin Kural by Kanchi Paramacharya]
In the Kruta Yuga, a person named Brighu went to his father Varuna and asked:
“How to know that which is absolute, which remains full at all times, that which does not have any shortage?”
Varuna said: “Do Tapasya, you shall know.”
Brighu began his tapasya. He started turning inwards. He saw that the body feels everything. That which experiences is greater than what is experienced itself. He went back to Varuna and said: “This body is the greatest of all, the absolute.”
The father said: “Do some more tapasya.”
Brighu went back like an obidient son of those days and attempted tapasya. He would go back to Varuna and mention what he feels is the absolute and Varuna turned him back every time, for 5 such instances.
The body is the absolute, no. The body dies, it cannot be. The life (Prana) is the absolute. No, the Prana is not in itself. The mind is the absolute. But the mind wanders here and there and it sometimes is happy and sometimes isn’t. How can it be absolute? He went back the fifth time.
“Father, I did tapasya all the time as you said. Nowadays, a tiny bit of bliss pops up at times. What is it?”
“The tiny bit of bliss, that is what you are searching for. You experience it a bit now. But when it becomes complete, it is bliss absolute. It is this bliss which does not get reduced, it remains forever, in every place, body. It surpasses time, body, mind and is the source for all these to experience. This is called the Atma, and the absolute bliss in knowing that Atman and experiencing it, to dwell in the state of bliss.” Varuna said. This is mentioned in an Upanishad.
We experience that bit of absolute ocean of bliss sometimes, rarely too. When seated in a dense tree, the sunlight does not fall down. When the wind blows, the leaves sway and the light rays fall down, temporarily. Then when the wind stops, there is no rays. The rays are present everywhere but just as the leaves, our mind, bad karma and thoughts are the ones which prevent the rays from us to know the rays shining. When we do tapasya and do vichara, the anandha or bliss absolute becomes of us, we merge in to it and we become that.
Krishna said, Kambar said too!
Atma is the source of everything. But when it is said Atma itself surpasses everything, we get confused. How is this possible? Krishna being the playful one, plays with us in the Gita and at the end, clarifies it crystal clear.
I am in everything.
Everything is in me
~ yomam pachyati sarvatra, sarvam cha mayi pachyati
When everything is in him, then they become the source of him is it? Confusing?
Swami or Atma is the source of everything is the right one. Just because he is in everything does not mean that they are there or they are the source for him. He is the one who controls everything, he himself clarifies it.
It is the Ishwara who controls everything as if they are dolls controlled by threads (ishwara, sarva bhuthanam hruth these arjuna thishtathi bramayan sarva bhuthani yanthra roodani maayayaa) ~ he says. Then after this clarification, he plays again.
I have nothing.
I am in nothing
~ na cha math sthani bhuthani, na saaham theshi avasthitha
Here the philosophy of Atma surpassing everything is being said. Arre O Krishna, why this playful confusion? He then says ‘I don’t explain to everyone for that is my Yoga Maya (na aham prakasha: sarvasya:) & (yoga maaya samavrutha:)
Confusing? If we think a little, we may know what he meant. He isn’t saying that I won’t explain it to everyone. In that case if there is a thousand people, he won’t explain it to any of them. But what he says is, “it may be that 999 people may not understand, but for the one who will understand, I will still explain”. He says Sarvasya (everyone), he does not say Kasyapi (no one), or I won’t explain to anyone. So someone does get clarified.
Who are these someone then? A selective caste, Brahmins? NO! Those selective few are the ones who are unaffected by His Yoga Maya. They are called Gnani. Such gnanis explain what he means by ‘Nothing is in me and I am in nothing’.
A person walks in the dark and steps on a garland and screams ‘ah snake!’. The snake and garland is just the same. The moment he knows that it is a garland, he knows that it is not a snake. But what made the snake? The garland itself. Those who do not know the Parabrahma witness the universe and its manifestations to be many (snake) but the source is the Parabrahma itself (garland).
I am in this universe. The universe is in me means the garland contains the snake and the snake contains the garland. Both are non-existent. When he screams ‘ah snake’, the snake swallowed the garland for the source of his vision is the snake. But when he knows that it is just the garland, the garland now swallows the snake. Though we see the universe, what we see is the Ishwara who holds the universe.
The Gnani in his Nirvikalpa Samadhi does not see anything as the universe. When it is said that there is nothing as the universe, it is absurd to say the universe is in him and he is in the universe, but when in ignorance, we see body, mind, life, brain etc., and when in bliss, it surpasses everything. Thus Krishna says ‘there is nothing in me’. Just because an ignorant says that he saw the garland as snake, it can’t be that the garland was in the snake or vice versa. It is just perception.
Kambar in his Kamba Ramayana says in the Sundara Kanda:
அலங்கலில் தோன்றும் பொய்ம்மை
அரவுஎனப் பூதம் ஐந்தும்
விலங்கிய விகாரப் பாட்டின்
வேறு பாடுற்ற வீக்கம்
கலங்குவ தெவரைக் கண்டால்
அவர் என்பர் கைவி லேத்தி
இலங்கையில் பொருதா ரன்றே
மறைகளுக் கிறுதி யாவார்.
அலங்கல் – garland
அரவு – snake
Just like how a snake is seen in the garland, the illusionary universe made out of the five elements is very entizing. How can this illusion disappear? It is by seeing the light which is Sri Rama. What he has said is pure Advaita.
Featured image: Sean Lord